Researchers, led by Associate Professor Xiu Zhu, from Peking University in Beijing’s School of Nursing have been using the BR+ methodology to assess safe staffing in maternity services in China. In response to a rising birth rate, the Chinese government is reviewing the nation’s maternity policy. The absence of a workforce-planning tool led the university to use BR+ in a 2016 study, commissioned by the Chinese government’s research funding council.
The study, published in Midwifery journal (issue 42, pages 61-66) was based on ten hospitals and looked at births conducted by midwives. It was concluded that BR+ was the “gold standard” for maternity workforce planning and that the “methodology could be used to assess workforce needs in China”. The study noted a shortage of midwives (midwives in China currently have a narrower scope of practice than in the UK).
Following the success of the first study the university has been commissioned to undertake a more extensive review using BR+.
Commenting on the work in China, Jean Ball said, “I am delighted to see that BirthRate Plus has been successfully applied in China and that the methodology is being used to help shape national maternity policy. We are looking forward to working with Associate Professor Xiu and colleagues over the next year”.
BR+ has also been utilised in the Republic of Ireland, Hong Kong and Australia.